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NZ ups tsunami aid package to $5 million

Hon Phil Goff Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade

29 December 2004

NZ ups tsunami aid package to $5 million

The government will make up to $5 million in aid and assistance available to tsunami-affected countries in south and south-east Asia, Foreign Minister Phil Goff said today.

A 10-member Disaster Victim Identification team will also shortly leave New Zealand for Phuket to assist Thai authorities to identify bodies.

"As the scale of the tragedy has unfolded, it is clear we are dealing with a disaster of immense proportions,” Mr Goff said.

"I have spoken with the Prime Minister and Acting Prime Minister and we have decided that given the magnitude of the disaster, the government should make available a package of assistance of up to $5 million.

"Millions of people will need to re-build their lives and their livelihoods and we are conscious of the need for New Zealand to play its full part in assisting in that process.

"The assistance package includes up to $2 million in dollar-for-dollar matching of donations made to community groups and aid organisations who are raising funds for those affected by the tsunami.

"Matching funds will hopefully encourage New Zealanders, known for their compassion and concern, to contribute generously to the appeals now in place.

"Groups which will be eligible for matching funds include Oxfam, World Vision, Tear Fund, Caritas, Christian World Service, Red Cross, ADRA, Unicef, and Save the Children Fund, as well as groups such as the Sri Lankan community.

"Other parts of the assistance package will involve funding for relief and reconstruction activities carried out by various United Nations agencies."

Mr Goff said the victim identification team would leave for Thailand as soon as possible.

"The team has been requested by the Thai authorities. It will consist of a pathologist, a dental expert and eight Police experts in body identification.

"The Thai authorities have gone out of their way to assist tourists caught up in the wake of this disaster that has killed many thousands of their own people. I am glad that for our part we can make this specialist assistance available.

"The RNZAF C130 will today be delivering to Indonesia emergency medical supplies and medical specialists. The Defence Force team working on the supply deliveries will also be increased today to 24 personnel," Mr Goff said.

ENDS

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